New Documentary Chronicles Jelly Roll’s Rise To Fame, Mental Health Battle and Struggles With Addiction

May 25, 2023 3:41 am in by

The trailer for Jelly Roll: Save Me, an unvarnished and inspiring documentary about Jelly Roll’s life has dropped.

Born and raised Jason DeFord in Nashville’s Antioch neighbourhood, Jelly Roll spent time in and out of jail before launching his music career. In a December interview, the singer-songwriter revealed that he spent three-and-a-half-years at the juvenile detention centre as a teenager before being charged as an adult for a crime he committed in his youth. 

“I came out of jail with a plan, I was going to put every piece of energy I had into music,” the Son Of A Sinner singer shares in the trailer. “It's almost like something just clicked right then. I came home and jumped out of the window with no parachute.”

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I've been a drug addict. I've been a stealer. I'm really a street kid that didn't have any self-worth. I don't know if I thought I deserved a better life, but I was willing to do whatever it took to have one. I passed out mixtapes, I started doing shows [and then] every record label in America started calling.”

The documentary features interviews with Jelly Roll’s wife Bunnie XO and music executives, fan testimonials, B roll footage and family photos. 

“You can change, you can turn this around. They said we were too fat to be in the music business, my voice wasn't cool enough, these are all mountains we had to conquer,” Jelly Roll continues. “The biggest demon in my life is my mental health. This was my best bet to really to have an impact. I feel what they're going through, I'll cry.

“Music was my Hail Mary. I feel like I owe it to my people to give them hope. If I wasn’t a musician, I’d be dead. Who would have thought I could help people.”

Jelly Roll: Save Me premieres on Hulu on May 30.

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Since 2010, the genre-bending singer-songwriter has released an impressive number of albums, EPs and projects and seen him collaborate with the likes of Lil Wyte, Struggle Jennings, Yelawolf, Tech N9ne and Ryan Upchurch, among others. His deeply personal lyrics and music blends old-school rap, classic rock, country and soul that is therapeutic, raw and tackles the heaviness in life.

2020 saw a paradigm shift (a word he uses frequently with good reason) in Jelly Roll’s career. He credits the release of Save Me from his Self Medicated album as the point in his career where he started to actually sing. 2021’s Ballads of the Broken album saw Son of a Sinner hit the hard rock and alternative songs chart and was most added song on country radio at its debut at the same time.

Jelly Roll recently took home all three of his CMT Music Award nominations – ‘Male Video’, ‘Breakthrough Male Video’ and ‘CMT Digital-First Performance of the Year’.

His new album, Whitsitt Chapel drops on June 2nd. The 13-track project features co-writes with HARDY, Miranda Lambert, Ashley McBryde and Brantley Gilbert, who also sings on Behind Bars along with Struggle Jennings. It also includes the Lainey Wilson duet version of Save Me, as well as a duet with Yelawolf called Unlive.

Whitsitt Chapel Track List:

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1. "Halfway to Hell" 
 2. "Church" 
 3. "The Lost" 
 4. "Behind Bars" (with Brantley Gilbert and Struggle Jennings) 
 5. "Nail Me" 
 6. "Hold on Me" 
 7. "Kill a Man" 
 8. "Unlive" (with Yelawolf) 
 9. "Save Me" (with Lainey Wilson) 
 10. "She" 
 11. "Need a Favor”
 12. "Dancing With the Devil" 
 13. "Hungover in a Church Pew"